The Virgin and Child with St. Anne

"The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne is an oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci depicting St Anne, her daughter the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus. Christ is shown grappling with a sacrificial lamb symbolizing his Passion as the Virgin tries to restrain him. The painting was commissioned as the high altarpiece for the Church of Santissima Annunziata in Florence and its theme had long preoccupied Leonardo." - Wikipedia

Leonardo's painting: The Virgin and Child with St. Anne. Underwent restoration in 2011-2012 which resulted in a controversy causing  two of the advisory committee supervisors to resign. Critics said that it was damaged by the restoration and became too bright. Others thought it came out fine. You can judge for yourself above. The darker is the pre-restoration.

St. Anne is actually Jesus's grandma. Although it doesn't name her in the bible but comes from 'New testament Apocrypha' which are like 'fan fiction' that May or may not be true.


Something interesting about one of the drapery study -sketches (in the gallery) is that it is the area of the actual painting that Freud thought Leonardo subconsciously' painted the outline of a Vulture. (When viewed sideways)

Click here to read Freud's whole interpretation. 

The vulture was supposed to represent his 'mother' because a vulture represents his 'mothers nipple' and is also represented in Egyptian hieroglyphs (as being mothers)..

It seems that I was always destined to be so deeply concerned with vultures—for I recall as one of my very earliest memories that while I was in my cradle a vulture came down to me, and opened my mouth with its tail, and struck me many times with its tail against my lips. - Leonardo 

Ultimately the translation of the Italian word 'Nibbo' Leo used was not vulture but Kite - which is an entirely different type of bird, making Freud's interpretation wrong. This was unfortunate for Freud since he later confessed after realizing his error that his article about it was, in his opinion, "the only thing I have ever written."

Leonardo's account of his first memory is still intriguing since it's unlikely that is he referring to an actual bird's tail poking his lips.

Even though the translation was wrong about it being a vulture it does not mean that Leonardo did not include the shape of a bird in this painting or that it has anything to do with his first memory.